Love you Look

I just wanted to tell you something: You are beautiful. You look fantastic today. Your style rocks. 

I know it’s not easy to be satisfied with the way we look. Especially (but not exclusively) as women. Because people, society, they tell us what is right, what is “normal”, what is sexy and what is pretty. But they have no idea. It’s up to you. You wear what you like, you get the haircolor and haircut you want, you can get tattoos all over your body or none, piercings, make up. The way your body looks? Do what is healthy for you – physically and mentally. 

If YOU don’t like the way you look? Change it! Dare to try something new. Hair will grow back, you can choose a new color whenever, you can change your clothes and put on make up if you want to, but also remove it if you don’t feel like it. (Think about tattoos though, they are meant to last, so if you’re not sure try out henna first.)

If YOU are not satisfied with your weight or your body? Work on it. Work out. Eat healthy. It’s not always easy, but every day you get after it is a good start. Take care of yourself. You only get this one body, so treat it with respect. But also, treat it with love.

The only important thing about the way you look is: DO IT FOR YOURSELF. Not for any girl or boy. Not for your parents. Nor for your boss. Not for society. 

Accept yourself. Love yourself. You deserve it. 

I love your look. And so should you.


Living the Dream – Shinedown Roadtrip USA

photo: Sanjay Parikh
I came home this week, still trying to process all that has happened during the past three weeks. I was looking forward to my trip to the US, sure, but I never expected any of these things that eventually happened. When Stef and I went on our first Shinedown Roadtrip in November ’18 I thought it couldn’t get any better. Turned out I was wrong.
I went to eight shows across the South in the US; it was my first time ever traveling outside of Europe. Dana joined me for this adventure, planning our stays and our routes and everything I couldn’t do because I was so occupied with my bachelor thesis before I flew over. (Thank you so much, again, for doing all of this for me, Dana.)
Everything was perfect.

Show 1/8: Memphis, Tennessee

We started in Atlanta because it was cheap and easy for me to fly there. Dana picked me up on May 1st and we drove to Memphis where we would attend the first of eight shows for me. Memphis was amazing. I loved exploring Beale Street and finding all the small hints to Zach Myers’ beginnings there. I loved having dinner at Sushi Jimmy because Matt Healy recommended it to us – and it was literally the best sushi I ever had. And I loved seeing everyone again.
Beale Street Music Festival was the first show. A festival is never as personal, but it was very different compared to Europe. Shinedown were headlining – that’s something you never experience over here. And the show was the perfect warm up. Seeing Matt and Sanjay was wonderful. And the show brought me back to my happy me which I had been looking for for several months.

Show 2/8: New Orleans, Louisiana

We drove on to New Orleans for the first real headline show. NOLA as a city had me from the first moment. It’s simply special and worth seeing. The vegetation was fascinating, the city was full of life and the food was interesting (we had alligator e.g.).
The first show – first real show – warmed my heart from deep within. Seeing the band again, speaking to them after half a year was necessary and beautiful. I felt so very welcome when they came to greet me (especially Barry and Eric who would come and say hi before even starting with the Meet & Greet). And the show was incredibly special: I heard so many songs I never heard live before (e.g. I Dare You) and they played for two hours straight.
The crew was just as welcoming. Especially Hoogie and Sparky took good care of me (besides Matt and Sanjay of course). 

Show 3/8: Atlanta, Georgia I

We drove back to Atlanta the next day, heading straight to the venue for the next show. This one was very special for me because I got to shoot the show with Sanjay. It was something I have been dreaming of for quite some time, as a person and as a photographer. And that dream came true. Sanjay showed me many things, helping me to get great shots. He’s one of the kindest and most wonderful people I know and deserves all the good in this world.
Shooting the show was amazing. I’d do it again every time.

Show 4/8: Atlanta, Georgia II

And they let me shoot the second show, too. This night was even more special, even though everybody seemed pretty stressed out that day. It wasn’t about me at all, but it somehow got to me and I suffered from a major emotional breakdown that night, without any specific or visible reason. But I wanted to be professional and just take some great pictures, and I think I succeeded. That night was mostly acoustic and that was just beautiful. Hearing Burning Bright and Lost in the Crowd live was incredible. And Eric, Barry and Brent made eye contact with me and my camera so I could get some amazing pictures. So yeah, the night was pretty perfect and that emotional low was weird, but it eventually passed when I went to sleep.

Show 5/8: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina I

For me, the Myrtle Beach shows were the best ones on this run. That was mainly because of all the love that’s been shared and the beautiful atmosphere. During the first night Meet & Greet I met Elizabeth Blake and her father Andy. It was her first time meeting the band and I can’t really explain why – maybe because she reminded me of myself – but I really wanted this night to be extraordinary special for this girl and her dad. I gave her my spare ticket for the second night and she was so extremely grateful and happy, just thinking about it makes me smile again.
The band also realized that these people were special and they made their Meet & Greet even better, giving her drumsticks and picks and showing them how much they appreciate them. Dana and I could keep a spot for Elizabeth in the front row and when Shinedown played “Monsters”, Brent made eye contact with her throughout the whole last chorus. It was beautiful. And I am so grateful that I met these people because they brightened my night and my life with their presence, gratitude and love for each other.

Show 6/8: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina II

The second night in Myrtle Beach was even better because the set was different. Luckily, Elizabeth’s dad could get a ticket, too, so both of them were able to join us during this show. I want to give a shout out to Joshua from the House of Blues crew at this point who was taking care of us all the time and who was the nicest person these two days (willing to take care of the girl in case her dad couldn’t make it to the show).
The set was mostly acoustic again, including “In Memory” which meant a lot to me. They also played “Shed Some Light” and got Steve up on stage to play bass with them, which was very unique. I had also brought a sign which said “You bring people together” that Elizabeth and I held up during “How Did You Love” (which led to Brent messing up the lyrics – sorry again). This night was magical, full of love. It reminded me of how grateful I am for this life and these people and for the fact that I could make a 16-year-old girl happy and be with her while she had the time of her life. Thank you so much, to everyone involved, for helping me to get to this point, for making all of this possible.

Show 7/8: Nashville, Tennessee I

The first Nashville show was weird for me. The Ryman, the venue they played, is pretty special and I know how much it meant to the band that they could play this historical place. Maybe I was in a weird mood. Maybe it was because I think a seated rockshow is weird. I’m not sure, but this felt strange and I cried through most of the songs. But the love was still real and especially the crew was fantastic that night. They knew how to lighten up the mood and make me feel better. And seeing the band so extremely happy and blessed was worth it all.

Show 8/8: Nashville, Tennessee II

This was my last show and it couldn’t have been any better. During Meet & Greet, the band was extremely lovely. Especially Eric and Brent made me feel so appreciated and welcome. We watched the show from a very special spot that night (thank you again, Hoogie) and I was the happiest girl on earth throughout the two and a half hours they played. 

I wouldn’t want to miss any of this; not Brent asking me to dance with him in Meet & Greet or screaming in my ear mid-show (I’ll miss you, too and yes, now I’m a little sad); not Zach waving me goodbye and running back to give me a hug because I would fly back home; not Barry making sure I had a good time and including us in the talk with his friends; not Eric sending a video to Stef and showing me some interesting things on his phone before he even showered after the show; not Matt taking care of me all the time and being the best person as always; not Sanjay giving me so much love and teaching me all these things; not John making sure I’m alright and safe and being funny and wird and letting me be around; not Sparky saying sorry to me whenever I see him; not Hoogie explaining all the names of Eric’s bass guitars to me and being the kindest person on earth; not the rest of the crew letting me be there and accepting me the way I am; not Dana being the best and funniest travel partner and friend; not Helena welcoming me in her home and being my friend without even knowing me before.

This Shinedown Roadtrip gave me so much more than I could ever wish for. I am grateful. So grateful. And I love these people so very much. Thank you, for everything, always.
Till next time.


In Memory - 23 Shinedown concerts

As some of you might already know from my Instagram, I’m going to do the second season of the Shinedown Roadtrip – in the USA! I’ve never been to the States before and so I’m super excited to go there, but also a little nervous. Another thing is that I won’t have my Shinedown travel partner Stef with me due to circumstances. So there has to be a third season of Shinedown Roadtrip which we can do together again.

Happily, I’ll have Dana by my side for the eight shows I’ll go to in the U.S. She’s an amazing person and I couldn’t imagine anyone else stepping in for Stef at this point (although the three of us together would’ve been even more awesome). 

Back to the point. Now that I’ll see Shinedown in their home country for the first time, I thought I could look back at the 23 shows I’ve been to so far. So here’s a trip down memory lane.

Show 1: 5th February 2012, Live Music Hall, Cologne

Rock show partners: my dad, my brother, my uncle and my friend Janis

Support: Liberty Lies      Special guest: Halestorm

I started late with rock shows in my life, so my first Shinedown concert was probably my sixth concert in general. We stood somewhere in the middle of everything, still I could see the musicians who had just become my favorite band very clearly. “Amaryllis” hadn’t been released yet, but they played three songs of it (“Bully”, “Enemies” & “Adrenaline”). Also, German TV was there and so I happen to still have a video of my first Shinedown concert.

Show 2: 20th October 2012, E-Werk, Cologne

Rock show partners: my dad, my brother, my aunt and my uncle

Support/Special guest: Red Light King

Yup, Shinedown did two headline tours in Europe in 2012. Amazing, I know. So of course I went there again. They offered a CD signing if you bought “Amaryllis” at the show, so I did even though of course I already had the album at home. But I really wanted to meet the band. And so I did. After the show, their former head of security Jake led us to a balcony where we waited for the band. I wore a self-designed t-shirt that night and Jake complimented me on it and we had a little chat about it. Honestly, I was so freaking nervous I couldn’t really say anything clever or profound, just tried not to make a fool of myself. The band came through, Eric and Barry from one side, Zach and Brent from the other. I think Zach was the first of them who reached me. We had just a short talk, but he was so nice and I was so happy. Then Brent came over and as he saw my shirt, he insisted to sign it (fyi we were told that we could ONLY let the CD be signed, NOTHING ELSE, so yeah, that was kinda cool). Brent hugged me and I gave him a letter I wrote for them and the first page of the novel I wrote (about their album “Amaryllis”). Then Eric came and gave me a high five for the shirt. And then Barry came and greeted me with the words “It’s good to finally meet you in person” (We had a few very small conversations via Twitter before and I never expected him to know who I was). Oh, and did I mention they were the first band I ever met in person? Crazy start. I recall being the happiest girl on earth after this. So yeah, thank you again guys for showing me that I belong somewhere. I was just a school girl then, not really belonging somewhere, not entirely sure of who I actually was. Meeting Shinedown that night was really special to me. (Btw they even tweeted me a thank you for the letter later without me mentioning it again. Just gotta love these guys.)

Show 3: 27th October 2012, O2 Academy Brixton, London 

Rock show partners: my friends Annika, Vanessa and Julia

Support/Special guest: Red Light King

I was a lucky girl in 2012. One week after the show in Cologne, Shinedown played in London – and I just happened to be there on a school trip. As my teacher was super cool (thank you again, Mrs. Berge) I was allowed to go to the show if I would bring at least two friends. So I went to see Shinedown again, this time with all pyro and lasers. And yes, I bought “Amaryllis” again to get to the signing after the show. The show was really awesome and we came quite close to the stage (which was something new for me at that time) and then we all went to the signing because we all had bought CDs. Brent and Jake both were sick that night, so the talk was rather short, but Zach hugged me and recognized me and Barry and Eric were both so very nice and caring. It was just perfect for me. 

Show 4: 4th February 2016, Carnival of Madness at the Wembley Arena, London

Rock show partners: my dad, my brother and three people I met at the show

Line-Up: Highly Suspect, Halestorm, Shinedown, Black Stone Cherry

Yeah, it took Shinedown four years to come back to Europe somehow. And now, there was no such thing as a full headline tour. But it didn’t matter. My mom and dad gave my brother and me the tickets for this festival and we traveled to London together. We waited for hours before the arena, but this led to us heading to the front row, right in the center. First on was Highly Suspect who were nice but I can’t really remember their set. Then next up Halestorm, my second favorite band who I only got to know because of that first Shinedow show in 2012. And then there was Shinedown. They had the best set and a drumset twice as big as the other ones. They stared of with “Black Cadillac” which I found super awesome because they didn’t choose to hit us with their heaviest track just to prove that they are a tough rock band. No need for that. I totally freaked out during the show because it was so beautiful. Black Stone Cherry just couldn’t stand up to that in my opinion and I almost passed out then because all the adrenaline was gone and I felt that I had stood for hours and hadn’t eaten enough. So I went to the back and watched the rest of the show there.

Show 5: 3rd June 2016, Rock am Ring, Germany

Rock show partners: my friends Inga and Anna

Line-Up: messed up but I guess Architects were before Shinedown

I hated Rock am Ring 2016. Everything was messed up, my friends were put into danger, the bands I wanted to see didn’t get to play and the people who were there with us were not my favorites. Shinedown already had a shitty time slot, 00:30 Friday night. But due to the first thunder storm, they started two hours later. I had made a sign as Zach’s son had been born that year and I wanted to congratulate him (this sign was the only thing about me that was still dry that night because it had been raining like hell almost all day). So one side of the sign said “Congrats Zach #babyspacejam” and the other one said “We were asking for it” as “Asking for it” was my favorite Shinedown song at that time. So I stood in the front row, Zach’s side, and Shinedown came on stage. I somehow just knew they would start with it. So they did. “Asking for it” was their first song and as I held up my sign Eric had to laugh. During “Simple Man”, I held up the side I made for Zach. I think he said thank you at least ten times that night. I was so happy that he liked it, I couldn’t stop smiling. In the end, he came to my side of the stage and threw his wristband in my direction, but the girl next to me grabbed it, too, and took it from me. I know it’s just a piece of clothing but that somehow ruined the night for me. Anyway, I texted Zach via Instagram and thanked him for throwing it anyway. I also told him I’d be at the show in Hamburg and he said he’d take care of me then. Just another proof that Zach Myers is a wonderful person if you ask me.

Show 6: 7th June 2016, Markthalle, Hamburg

Rock show partners: my dad and my friend Rike (who I met there)

Support: none, just Shinedown

So my dad and I drove to Hamburg for the Shinedown show. At the entrance I met a girl who was there alone, so I joined her. Her name’s Rike and she’s amazing. Just fyi. Back to the story. We went inside and cut to the front row, Zach’s side again. I had brought my sign one more time so he would recognize me. Looking back, I’m not sure I needed it, but his smile during the show was rewarding enough. I got three guitar picks from him and Sparky that night and Sparky also took a picture of me with the sign which is still up on Zach’s Instagram account. He even tagged me in it. That night they played “Through the Ghost” live and I was crying like a baby. Also, Zach played a cover of “Don’t look back in Anger” by Oasis which led to the song being stuck in my head for years (which eventually resulted in my best friend and me getting the lyrics tattooed). Outside of the venue I found a setlist and sked the crew if I could take it. In the car I realized it was from Rock am Ring. That was my first Shinedown setlist I ever got.

Show 7: 14th June 2016, Melkweg, Amsterdam

Rock show partners: my brother, my friend Christina and Rita (who I met there)

Support: Mandrake’s Monster

One week after the show in Hamburg, my brother and I went to Amsterdam to see Shinedown (again). We spent a really beautiful day in the city, meeting up with a good friend of mine and meeting another friend I hadn’t seen in a while at the show. We made it to the front again, standing on Eric’s side this time. Looking back now I guess the band recognized me. But I’m not entirely sure. I only know Zach did recognize me. Barry threw me a drumstick, but my brother caught it. Which is fine because he’s a big fan of Barry and I was happy for him. After the show, the band came out quickly. I finally got to talk to Zach and take pictures with him. It was just so super nice and I was happy. The others were kind and nice, too, of course. We took some really funny pictures (and the one with Brent which is actually the only picture with a musician that I think I look good in). I don’t know, it just felt good to talk to each one of them and especially Zach was taking care of me that summer. He made me feel loved and appreciated much and I really needed that back then. I was facing some major changes in my life and I had no idea how to deal with all of this. Brent, too, helped me through some things, even though he probably wasn’t really feeling well that night. I’m still so very thankful for these moments.

Show 8: 15th June 2016, Doornroosje, Nijmegen

Rock show partners: my brother, my friends Inga and Kira, Jana and Erik, Gabrielle (who I met there)

Support: Mandrake’s Monster

We drove to Nijmegen the next day for another Shinedown show. And it was just amazing. We stood front row, Zach’s side and he played “Don’t look back in Anger” again. Also, the whole band seemed so relaxed and they had so much fun on stage, it was wonderful to watch. This time, I caught the drumstick Barry threw for me (only after it hit my head though). Afterwards, we waited outside, but there was a big closed door and the band didn’t see us waiting. I texted Zach that we were outside, so he and Barry came out. It was good to see them again before they left because I knew that was my last Shinedown show for some time again. 

Show 9: 29th April 2017, Festhalle, Frankfurt

Rock show partners: none

Special guest: Shinedown, opening for Iron Maiden

Even though I tend to forget I went to this show, it was probably one of the most important ones for me. It was a Saturday during the year I lived in Würzburg and I was in the middle of a dark time. My best friend Svenja and I went to the zoo in Nürnberg and I was talking about that show being in Frankfurt that night. She encouraged me to go, so I did. I drove to Frankfurt that evening without having a ticket for this SOLD OUT show. Plus I’m not into Iron Maiden at all. I just wanted to see Shinedown. I was fifteen minutes late because I couldn’t find a parking spot and I bought a leftover ticket from someone in front of the venue, then rushed inside. They had already started playing and I came in during “How did you love”. I found a spot in the third row, Zach’s side, and as soon as I stood there I couldn’t help but cry, ending up sobbing because it felt so good to be there. I had 45 minutes of Shinedown for 80 euros and I am so happy I did this. It felt so good. Zach found me in the crowd and waved at me, threw me a guitar pick. It feels quite unreal, but that’s what it was.

Show 10: 3rd June 2018, Rock im Park, Germany

Rock show partners: Stef (but we weren’t standing together)

Line-Up: Black Stone Cherry was up before Shinedown

I didn’t even realize this was my 10th time seeing Shinedown before after it had ended. This was the first time Zach wasn’t around because he and his wife were expecting their second child. Josh Sturm had stepped in for him and he was awesome. Also, I was so excited to hear songs from “Attention Attention” live. And what can I say? Shinedown killed it again. 

Show 11: 20th June 2018, De Oosterpoort, Groningen

Rock show partners: Stef
Support: Ego Kill Talent

That day, I didn’t even want to go to the show. I didn’t want anything at all. I was feeling so lonely and lost and like nothing would ever turn out right. It was bad. But I went to the show which happened to be the most important Shinedown show for me. The show itself was pretty emotional – especially when rent talked to the audience before they played “Brilliant”. It was super touching and soon I found myself sobbing again. I had also brought a sign again which said “You help me get up and get a move on” which is still so very true. Eric and Barry definitely saw it and Eric gave me a setlist in the end. After the show, we didn’t find the bus so everybody left, including Stef. I drove out of the parking garage and had to turn. That’s when I found the bus. After ten minutes of waiting, Matt came to me (that’s the first time we met) and he sent out the whole band. Brent was the last one and when he came over I told him my name and he went “Oh shit, I don’t have my glasses on. I didn’t recognize you.” Then we had our talk. It was important and it felt very real to me. I drove back home, sobbing, sending my friends a voice mail because I had to tell someone about this. Brent helped me to get out of the dark. He didn’t pull me out, he made me strong to do this myself. I am still grateful for this.

Show 12: 21st June 2018, Melkweg, Amsterdam

Rock show partners: my dad and Stef

Support: Ego Kill Talent

Amsterdam was emotional. Stef and I made it to the front row and we thought we were prepared for Brent’s speech before “Brilliant”. I wasn’t expecting him to cite from my letter which I gave him the night before. So I ended up sobbing again. The show was beautiful. I had another sign with me, one side saying “It’s our day to be brilliant”, the other saying: “Thank you for everything”. The band saw it and they smiled a lot. I did, too. After the show, we shortly talked and when Brent came over I started crying. I really didn’t mean to and I think he was a little helpless about it. However, that’s the way it was. 

Show 13: 22nd June 2018, Graspop Metal Meeting, Belgium

Rock show partners: none

Line-Up: Tremonti came after Shinedown

After I asked one of the Iron Maiden fans in the front row if I could stand in front of them for Shinedown and they really let me, I was ready for the last Shinedown show of the summer. Even though the band was super tired, they brought one hell of a show up on stage. Matt came around to give me some guitar picks and it was just fun. I was happy. After the show, I went to the signing and Eric, Barry and Brent were awesome as always. I was a little sad I couldn’t say goodbye to Josh, but I understand he didn’t want the action in there. 

Show 14: 31st October 2018, Manchester Academy, Manchester

Rock show partners: Stef

Support: Press to Meco                Special guest: Starset

Show 15: 7th November 2018, O2 Academy Brixton, London

Rock show partners: Stef, Lara, Stine, Sissel, Debs

Support: Press to Meco                Special guest: Starset

Show 16: 11th November 2018, Live Music Hall, Cologne

Rock show partners: my brother, my dad, Inga, Anna, Stef and April

Support: Press to Meco                Special guest: Starset

Show 17: 12th November 2018, 013 Poppodium, Tilburg

Rock show partners: Stef, Rita, Gabrielle

Support: Press to Meco                Special guest: Starset

Show 18: 13th November 2018, Batschkapp, Frankfurt

Rock show partners: Stef, Caro

Support: Press to Meco                Special guest: Starset

Photo: Sanjay Parikh

Show 19: 16th November 2018, TRIX, Antwerp

Rock show partners: Stef, Cliff

Support: Press to Meco                Special guest: Starset

Show 20: 23rd November 2018, LKA Longhorn, Stuttgart

Rock show partners: Stef, Dana, Melle

Support: Press to Meco                Special guest: Starset

Show 21: 25th November 2018, Docks, Hamburg

Rock show partners: Stef, Dana, Rike, April

Support: Press to Meco                Special guest: Starset

Photo: Sanjay Parikh

Show 22: 27th November 2018, Vega, Copenhagen

Rock show partners: Stef, Stine, Sissel

Support: Press to Meco                Special guest: Starset

Show 23: 29th November 2018, Annexet, Stockholm

Rock show partners: Stef

Support: Press to Meco                Special guest: Starset